GILLETTE, Wyo. — The Bureau of Land Management announced this morning that it is offering a reward for information that will help identify and convict people who have stolen and vandalized fire rings about 25 miles north of Gillette.
The agency said in a news release that it will give a $250 reward for information regarding the crimes involving the fire rings, which are in the Weston Hills Special Recreation Management Area. The BLM in October discovered a fire ring that was ripped from the ground, despite being anchored with concrete, and stolen. Other fire rings have been vandalized since their installation.
“[Weston Hills] is a popular place for recreationists to four-wheel, hunt, and dispersed camp,” the release said. “Over the past several years, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service have worked diligently to enhance the area by improving roads and trails, removing garbage, fixing fences, and providing facilities for users. Fire rings were installed for the convenience of campers, as well as to minimize wildfire risk and limit resource damage by establishing campsites. Unfortunately, the area has experienced multiple incidents of vandalism over the years and a portion of the time and money spent on improving the area goes towards fixing user-caused damage.”
In 2021, fire rings were vandalized within two months of being installed, the release said. In 2014, an explosion damaged a vault toilet on Forest Service-managed land. Littering and resource damage from unauthorized off-roading has persisted and required constant cleanup and restoration.
“While it’s frustrating to fix and replace amenities that were put there for everyone to enjoy, the biggest impact is to the public,” Buffalo Field Manager Todd Yeager said. “Vandalism results in additional costs to the taxpayer and can take opportunities away from the people who use those sites. Rather than using additional funding to make areas like Weston Hills a better place, we’re left cleaning up after a few inconsiderate people.”